Steamboat Springs Time will tell whether wildlife officers successfully trapped a bear that has been opening car doors and ravaging the interiors in search of food.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer Steve Baumgardner said officials think there might be two bears that have adapted the behavior of opening car doors in search of food. If cars continue to get broken into, wildlife officials will know another cute culprit is on the loose.
The bear was trapped Thursday night near a home at 2450 Ski Trail Lane by Steamboat Ski Area. The previous night, a bear had opened the unlocked car doors of a Toyota 4Runner and damaged the center console and dash. A bear also has been getting into cars in the area of Steamboat Boulevard.
Baumgardner said the bear or bears have been able to open car doors that have handles where bears can wedge the paws or claws between the door and the handle.
Bear bait was used to lure the bear into the trap. Baumgardner said there was a trash can overflowing with trash in the same area where the bear was trapped. It was not secured and made for an easy meal for any bear. Baumgardner reminded residents to secure their trash and to put it out the morning of trash service.
The bear was taken to a Parks and Wildlife garage where it spent Thursday night. On Friday morning, the bear was tranquilized, an ear tag with the number 400 was put in each ear and a microchip was implanted into the bear’s skull so it can be identified with a handheld scanner. DNA samples also were harvested by collecting some of the bear’s hair.
Upon examination, it was determined the bear was a 2-year-old male. Wildlife officers earlier had suspected the bears getting into the cars were yearlings that had learned bad habits from their mother and now were on their own.
After tagging the bear, it was relocated to an undisclosed location. The hope is that it will not make its way back to Steamboat.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com